How do you lock in and define your customer? It’s a great question and one I’m excited to talk through today. Thomas Joyner with Business on Purpose here.

It’s so powerful…knowing who you want to sell to. Locking and truly defining your ideal customer. 

If you examine successful businesses across the landscape, almost always their success is a result of them knowing EXACTLY who they are selling to. 

Take someone like Chick Fila. They have successfully targeted a group of people that want to eat Chicken in a clean, convenient, customer service forward way. They don’t branch into tacos and burgers and pizza. Trying to hit every single customer! No, they stay focused and then spread out their offerings to hit that demographic in as many ways as possible. 

So how do you do this in your own business? How do you figure out who that ideal client is so you can then serve them better than anyone else? Here are three ways…

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1.  Ask who your most profitable client is?

This is the logical place to start, right? If you look back at the past 6 mos to a year, who did you do business with that gave you your highest profitability? Now, we can’t exactly clone profitable clients, but you can begin to market specifically to that type of client. If you’re in the trades and you have a certain builder that you worked best with, who else in your market does business like them. Go to that client and ask them. Or ask them how you can get more of their work. 

Too often we don’t have because we don’t ask. “Oh, that just feels salesy! It’s not my style to be pushy!”

Ok, first of all, you have to know your value you are bringing and understand that your ideal client is LOOKING FOR YOU!!! You provide just as much value to them as they do to you. That’s powerful when you get that. It’s not salesy, because you’re delivering them exactly what they’re looking for. A business or consumer is not frustrated when they get what they are looking for. No! It’s gift. It gets them excited. So, if you know who that customer is, keep targeting them. Write it down and find creative ways to target more clients JUST LIKE THEM.

A few more questions to ask…Who pays on time? Who are you not gonna have to nickel and dime and wait for checks to clear and just have the hassle of doing business with? That will lead us to our next question.

2. Who is your least profitable client? Both financially and just in the joy of doing business?

Sometimes it’s just as important to realize who you do NOT want to work with as it is to know your ideal client. Who saps energy from you? Who robs you of profitability? Who, even if you do everything right, still ends up frustrated and complaining?

Who are the businesses or clients that do NOT match up with your mission and core values? Who distracts you from your mission? 

Write a list down and scratch them off. 

Imagine if someone was in the Chick Fila drive-thru and asked them to make a cheeseburger for them. Now, if we have the mindset that everyone is a client and we have to serve every client, we COULD do this. Send someone to the grocery store to grab some ground beef, bring it in, make a patty, put it on the flat top or grill, use one of your buns and get it out the drive-thru window after a lengthy wait.

The customer drives off. Next thing you know they leave a review online. Worst burger I’ve ever had. Almost like they’ve never made one. Waited an eternity for terrible food.

Why does this happen? Because that’s not your ideal client. That’s not the person you can serve and thrive in the process. So if you look at your products and services, are there any that you need to get rid of to help you stay away from your least profitable clients? Are there any products, services, or clients that are distracting you from knocking it out of the park? 

Write them down and stay away. Every time you’re tempted to do business with them, remember it’s a distraction that could cost you big time.

3. Ask yourself what problem you solve?

Your ideal client will always need the solution to whatever problem you solve. So…if you were explaining to someone why they should do business with you, what problem do you solve? Now, it’s probably not just one. It’s probably 10 different things. 

Write those down. Then take it a step further. Who needs those problems solved? Who has those problems and is looking for an answer? What fears do they have and how often is this a problem? You’d be surprised, you may even come up with another million-dollar idea by focusing on the problem you’re solving and who needs the solution!

Alright, those are the three steps, ask who your most profitable client is, cross of your least profitable clients, and figure out the main problems you solve. Put those all together and you should have a great idea of who you should work with.

Lastly, though I would tell you to filter it through this last question. Who do you WANT to work with…who do you like/dislike and draw energy from working with? I know you can’t always choose the best client. But…it can be a tie-breaker. There are tons of opportunities to make money out there, but which customer gets you excited?

That stuff matters.

Alright, time to put in the work. Time to write it down and then go build out a plan to reach your ideal customer.

Thomas Joyner is a business coach in the Lowcountry of South Carolina specializing in liberating business owners from chaos. He is a weekly contributor to The Business on Purpose podcast and can be found at